ECE 4760: Final Project

Acoustic Wayfinder


Shane Soh (

Eileen Liu (

"An acoustic wayfinding device with haptic feedback for the visually impaired"

project soundbyte

Our acoustic wayfinding device utilizes ultrasonic range finders and haptic feedback to facilitate indoor navigation for the visually impaired. The technique of acoustic wayfinding uses auditory cues, such as sounds from the natural environment or sounds created artificially, to determine an individual's surrounding physical space for the purpose of navigation. Our device is an automated and subtle implementation of this technique that uses pulses of inaudible (to humans, at least) frequencies in the ultrasonic range as opposed to taps on the floor with a cane or clicking noises made by the tongue; our device also works in noisy environments where it is typically difficult to discern auditory cues.

Our device consists of an ergonomic head-mounted navigation system with a wearable tactile sensor connected via a long flexible wire. Our device instructs the user to turn either left or right depending on the presence of obstacles in the device's field of view. The device is supplemented with a tactile sensor that mimics a "Hoover" cane (a white cane commonly used by the visually impaired as a mobility tool) which the user can use to scan for obstacles not detectable by the head-mounted sensors. This hands-free device is battery powered which allows users to navigate confidently without loss of mobility.


The finished product.